Dean Garlick

Dean Garlick is a fiction writer and photographer living in Montreal.

Reviews by Dean Garlick:

March 16, 2023
The world woven in Marie Hélène Poitras' historical novel sits outside of reality.
November 5, 2020
We’ve all found ourselves daydreaming of a better life, fantasizing about a time and place where our deepest desires have become reality. For some, the conditions of existence may call for a little more fantasizing than for others. This can certainly be said for the central character in Jean-Christophe Réhel’s new novel in English translation, Tatouine.
July 23, 2020
A number of words come to mind while reading Bertrand Laverdure’s newest novel in English translation, The Neptune Room: beautiful, messy, morbid, poetic, and, at times, problematic.
July 6, 2019
We’ve all had the experience where our mind arbitrarily takes a snapshot, a freeze-frame that reverberates with the particulars that shaped our state of being at that moment in our lives. These flashes capture a near-simultaneous amalgamation of thought, emotion, and vivid sensory experience, a kind of neural artifact of an ever-changing self. But what if it were possible to compile the experiential snapshots of an array of different people in a single book? This is the ambitious challenge that Simon Brousseau has set for himself in his experimental novel Synapses.
December 21, 2018
Some novels hold their secrets tightly, leaving the reader to fumble in the darkness for any sense of where the book is leading them, while others let flow a glut of detail that can overwhelm and at times obscure what’s happening beneath the surface. Montreal writer David Turgeon manages to do both simultaneously in The Supreme Orchestra.
October 10, 2018
But what if Michael Bay is really a misunderstood genius? An artist, critically misinterpreted, academically ignored, deprived of his true vision because of the manipulation of the studios in the name of outrageous commercial profits? Or what if he’s part of something much deeper and even more mysterious, something beyond the scope of mass media, something that’s shaped both civilization and his very consciousness from childhood? These are the kinds of heady, ridiculous questions Mathieu Poulin detonates consistently throughout the course of his novel Explosions: Michael Bay and the Pyrotechnics of the Imagination.
March 24, 2018
If you seek something harrowing and suffused with poetic elegance, this may be the book for you. With a sensual realism that at times bleeds into fantasy, Awumey lays before us the life of West African playwright Ito Baraka.
December 10, 2017
It’s easy to see why Dominique Scali’s first novel, In Search of New Babylon, was a finalist for the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award, the Grand Prix du livre de Montréal, the Prix des libraires du Québec, and winner of the 2015 First Novel Award at the Festival du Premier Roman de Chambéry in France. The story is tightly woven and executed with masterful shifts in chronology and narrative focus. The characters are quirky and compelling. The language of W. Donald Wilson’s translation sings with rich detail. Short, staccato-like chapters propel the story forward with the pacing of good television. This is in no way meant as an insult – seamless storytelling is difficult to achieve, and Scali accomplishes that with virtuosity in this novel.
July 7, 2017
No one ever suggested the literary life was easy. Whether you’re a writer, editor, small-press publisher, or planner of literary events, the hours are long, and if there is any pay, it’s often meagre. But we don’t do it for the money. At least most of us don’t. So what’s driving the purveyors of literary culture if not material gain? Bertrand Laverdure anatomizes this question in his chaotic, ever-morphing novel Readopolis.
November 4, 2016
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e all have family mythologies. Those stories told and retold of previous generations: a grandmother who survived perils to immigrate to North America, or the tale of how our parents found each other. These stories colour how we see ourselves and the world around us. They’re often born out of struggle, or loss, and we defend their veracity as we would our very honour, no matter how distorted they may become with the retelling. In the novel Brothers, David Clerson harnesses the power of these stories and amplifies it with the force of fable to create a tale of violence, loss, revenge, and ultimately rebirth.
July 22, 2015
Reading Mike Steeves’s Giving Up can be uncomfortable. It’s full of the psychic detritus that floats around our brains from moment to moment: self-doubt, fear, justifications for unhealthy behaviour, petty grudges we can’t let go of, obsessive attention to the slog that can plague the pursuit of our goals and dreams. Optimistic perspectives are disregarded and replaced with cynicism. And on top of this, the novel is a thorough dissection of an ongoing relationship.